News

Boy knocked unconscious by whale

Yamba Paramedics Gavin Bridges (left) and Adam Jarrett debrief after taking 13-year-old Drew Hall to hospital following a collision with a whale near Brooms Head.
Yamba Paramedics Gavin Bridges (left) and Adam Jarrett debrief after taking 13-year-old Drew Hall to hospital following a collision with a whale near Brooms Head. Debrah Novak

GETTING whacked on the head by a whale was the last thing young Drew Hall expected when he headed off fishing with his mum and dad yesterday.

The Maclean family took their dingy out early yesterday morning to try their luck in waters off Redcliffe, just north of Brooms Head.

The family noticed a large number of whales out further, happily keeping their distance.

Drew's mum, Karen, said she was enjoying watching the display of the whales blowing air from their blowholes.

Then, about 7am, the family began to slowly cruise along, looking for a better fishing spot when, without warning, a whale's tail emerged from the water and swiped the top of the boat from the bow to the stern.

“It all happened within seconds,” Karen said.

“I was sitting backwards in the boat looking at Drew and the tail just whacked him and sent him flying into the boat.”

Karen said the whale's tail took the windscreen and the cover off the boat as it swiped it down its length.

She said the whale's tail missed her completely but slammed Drew into the back of the boat.

“I thought Drew was dead. I looked at him and thought he was gone – he was blue,” she said.

“He was totally unconscious. It took about five minutes before we could get him to move or make a noise.

“When he did come round he was going in and out of consciousness all the way back in (to shore).

“We were too busy finding out if Drew was alive or dead to know what happened to the whale.”

Drew was met by paramedics from the Yamba ambulance station and transported to Maclean Hospital for treatment.

The assessment showed Drew had been left with a broken collarbone, a huge lump on his chest and an ‘egg' sized lump on his head.

“I can't believe this. Drew is the keenest fisherman; he just lives to go fishing,” Karen said.

“He did manage to catch two rock cod before it happened, though.”

Just a few days ago, local trawler the El Margo had a whale encounter of its own.

A whale became tangled between the boat and its stay arm before managing to free itself.

Topics:  whale




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